You’ve felt the excitement of Mock Rock, skipped class to volunteer, and spent a Sunday night singing classic songs with the rest of campus in the Union. Now, homecoming week is gone, and dorm activities are winding down. As everyone returns to the horribly corrupting nature of the liberal arts, you may be wondering: Where did everyone’s spirit and energy go? How could the passion of #repeat2peat or the excitement of defeating Simpson vanish? But esprit de dorm does not have to extinguish as quickly as it seemed to flourish during homecoming.
We get it. As students like to remind each other every day (or proudly boast to each other), Hillsdale College is a difficult school. With its pesky insistence on reading Cicero, writing about Lincoln, or properly defining human beings, Hillsdale’s academic rigor requires all of our time and energy. However, education is about more than writing our papers. As two devout Protestants, we frequently encourage the quotation of Simpson’s patron saint John Henry Newman, who explains that he would rather a university do nothing but allow its students to learn and live together rather than lecture them and send them to their homes without their friends and in isolation. Dorms provide the community that Newman so encourages.
In dorms, we do not just sleep in soulless, Soviet-style housing. In them, we cry together at Maximus’ journey to Elysium in the movie “Gladiator,” laugh together at the late Norm MacDonald, and encourage each other to pursue knowledge of permanent and beautiful things.
Each dorm comes with its own special legacy. Being Simpsonites, we rejoice in blaring “Downtown” and “Stacey’s Mom” during our walkdowns to Charger athletic events and the late-night shenanigans which frequent our halls. Even as ardent defenders of our exceptionalism, we know this esprit de dorm does not stop with us. We have watched as Galloway has engaged in the difficult work of rebuilding their own culture after the renovation, while Niedfeldt and Whitley have created vibrant, strong traditions in our time here.
For years, Olds has provided freshmen women with a unique and thriving community, and New Dorm strives to create a similarly meaningful experience for its residents. To allow your dorm’s spirit to flourish, hold these old and new traditions in the highest regard. We are all bound together by a vast contract of traditions and customs, linking us to the alumni who have graduated and students yet to be admitted alike.
Dorms are more than just places to live and sleep. In them, we find freshmen with thumos and seniors with a passion for knowledge and teaching. If you are a freshman, find an upperclassman or two and learn from them. If you are older, pour yourself into the freshmen and work to uphold your dorm’s culture. We promise you will quickly realize how infectious their energy and passion is. In the dorms, we find the greatest expression of Hillsdale College. These are places dedicated to friendships of virtue and cultivating an eros for wisdom. Do not let the end of homecoming week allow yourself to use the dorms as merely a place to get away from the liberal arts. Instead, fall deeper in love with your dorm, and through your dorm, your education. You won’t regret it.